Much of the world now knows about the awful Queensland flood disaster which took so many lives and properties this week. Other cities and towns throughout the state have been dealing with floods caused by deluge, swollen creeks and rivers. This week it was the turn of Ipswich, and of the state capital, Brisbane as their rivers rose and burst their banks. ‘Burst’ is a dramatic word, ‘gradual creep’ better describes the slow, inexorable rise of torrential brown water into the city and its streets, homes and businesses. It’s not the first time the state’s capital has been flooded. This image was taken during the floods of 1893. Another great flood happened in 1974. 2011 is probably the worst so far.
As I write, the immediate danger from rising floodwaters has passed and the Brisbane River has gradually slowed what has been a frighteningly fast surge out into Moreton Bay. The weather pattern has changed to blue skies and sunshine, and Brisbane, as with all flood-affected towns in the state, is in full clean-up mode. It’s been a terrible, exhausting time, one that has taxed everyone to some degree; it will go on for months, maybe years. State Premier Anna Bligh has likened this time to one of ‘post-war recovery’ proportions. Federal, state and local governments are coming together to assist in the recovery.
Our theatres and arts company premises have not escaped either. Shows have been cancelled, foyers and orchestra pits and studios are inundated with water and mud, and equipment has been damaged or destroyed. Hearts are broken, but heads are unbowed.
With typical generosity the wider community are pitching in and volunteering, as always happens when the going is bad. The big cleanup has begun. The arts community are also mobilising to get things back to normal. 23rd Productions Artistic Director Kathryn Fray is coordinating Brisbane artists and creatives to help out with entertainment in the Evacuation Centres in the state, while Harvest Rain Theatre Company under Tim O’Connor are calling for people to register for the Brisbane Arts Community big cleanup crew.
Dear friends, you do the heart good.
- Brisbane battles flood devastation as death toll rises – CNN International (news.google.com)
- Rebuilding Queensland Business After Flood Damage – Small Business Guide (prweb.com)
- ‘Post-war’ effort needed to rebuild Queensland – ABC Online (news.google.com)
- The Australian Floods: a photo gallery (boingboing.net)
- Australia floods recede to reveal extent of damage (seattletimes.nwsource.com)